Yesterday wasn’t just any other day in America, and this wasn’t just any other Emerson women’s volleyball game.
Upset by the election of Donald Trump as the 45th president, multiple players wrote messages on their arms, and the entire team came together in a huddle during the national anthem. Normally, the Lions line up facing the flag.
Junior Sam Harton described a somber locker room scene, and said a statement had to be made.
“It’s a really dark day in history for us. I know that a lot of us came in the locker room crying today,” Harton said. “Some people wanted us to just go out and play and forget about it, but I don’t believe in that. There was just too much emotion to put it aside. This is a cathartic experience for us, volleyball, so we really wanted to bring it into that.”
Harton’s arm bore a statement in black permanent marker: “Not My President.” Teammate Annie Hall, a senior, wrote “Nasty Woman” on her arm, referring to the moniker Trump used to describe opponent Hillary Clinton in the third presidential debate.
Hall said she first thought about taking a stand on the court while watching election night coverage with teammate Jessica Hamilton.
“Once we found out the final result, it was a pretty big shock,” Hall said. “We were pretty upset. We thought, we have a game tomorrow and we’re asking people to go. What can we do?"
National anthem protests have gone mainstream in sports this year. Colin Kaepernick popularized the idea by kneeling on the sidelines before San Francisco 49ers games in response to police killings of African-Americans. He was soon joined by a number of fellow NFL players.
Harton said she isn’t the type to hold her beliefs inside, and wanted to express her dismay.
“I didn’t think about it until I was warming up, and I was like, ‘You know what, I really want to do something,’” Harton said. “This is on my mind. I can’t just forget about this while I’m on the court. I’m a big believer that if you’re going to be upset about something, you have to do something about it and say something about it.”
The Lions handed Morrisville State College a resounding defeat in straight sets, and freshman Lily Marella felt the team’s disappointment with the election outcome played no small part.
“We were in the locker room literally bawling our eyes out together before the game, and we all just came together as women and we said, ‘This is for the tournament, this is for women,’” Marella said. “We just came together and decided to fight as hard as we could. That really showed on the court.”